Lynn Whitfield (Stepmom, Eve's Bayou) stars in this powerful movie about love, struggle and passion as the overprotective mother of piano prodigy Junior Brown. Junior's tormented world of dangerous street friends, crazy ne... more »ighbors and an eccentric music teacher force him to fight for his chance to escape the ghetto through the music he loves. As he masters his skill with the piano, Junior discovers that the beauty of his music inspires the people around him to reach for their dreams.« less
"What a fascinating film is Junior's Groove,somewhat off-beat though but an excellent Canadian production all the same. The story concern's overweight piano prodigy Junior Brown and over protective mom living by themselves,his lesson's with nutter piano teacher and friend's whom watch out for him from the street's called the Planet's. A strange but curious and moving piece,especially the plight of the younger character's struggling from day to day life on the street's and quirky relationship's,Junior tend's to live in a world of his own and that of his music. Wonderfully photographed and good musical score and sensitive direction by Clement Virgo plus solid performances by all cast Lynn Whitfield as Jnr's mom,Margot Kidder fabulous as the nutty teacher and the young less-known actors Martin Villafana,Rainbow Sun Francks,Clark Johnson ,Sarah Polley and Richard Chevolleau all deserved of mention for the realistic true to life portrayal's of their respective character's made this film and story a joy to watch,it's now a favorite of mine I don't regret purchasing it from Amazon.com however it's not mainstream and won't appeal to masses I suspect but highly worthy of a viewing if you appreciate cinema originality. Based on book Planet of Junior Brown."
Strange Story of Musical Prodigy
Ibochild | Los Angeles, CA USA | 10/30/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"THE PLANET OF JUNIOR BROWN (the film's original title as well as the Virginia Hamilton novel on which it is based) is a very strange film. Originally made for Canadian televison, the film is the second full-length effort by Clément Virgo (RUDE, LOVE COME DOWN). It tells the story of Junior Brown (Martin Villafana), an obese musical prodigy and his dysfunctional relationship with his mother (Lynn Whitfield). Despite his passion for music, his mother has clipped the strings from the household piano, which he tries to "play" anyway. To hear himself play, Junior Brown has to visit his music teacher, Miss Peebs (Margot Kidder) or visit the local music store.When Junior Brown is not playing, he hangs out with an assorted group of outsiders. There's also a tentative romance and some rather surreal visual elements, but with very little to connect the viewer emotionally with the characters or the material.There's plenty of style and atmosphere, but a noticeable lack of a coherent plot. This is really too bad, because Virgo has a lot of creative ideas. He has also populated the film with an unusual assortment of characters, but he doesn't always seem to know what to do with them (or find a way for a viewer to emotionally connect with them).The title character is extremely passive. Throughout the film he mostly reacts to the actions of others. When he does take action, its hard to identify with him. This is not simply because the character is obese (actually it's quite admirable on the film's part to focus on people of different physical types), but rather the film's inability to find something in the character's behavior that resonates with the viewer. This makes the film really frustrating to watch. It's as if the filmmaker expects us to connect with Junior Brown, simply because of who he is and his situation. This is not enough.The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1998 Urbanworld Film Festival. It was also nominated for several other awards, but failed to get much of a release within the United States. If you see the film, you'll understand why. In a word -- odd."
Truly Hidden Gem
firstname.lastname@example.org | usa | 07/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really was Captivated by this Film about a Young Piano Prodigy.He felt the notes&what they said.His Mother Played By Lynn Whitfield does a Great Job here.She Looks as Great as ever.despite being Diabetic.the film has a Mystery to it within it's own self.I happen to see it at a Video Store&it caught my attention it's a Solid Hidden Gem."
Not what you'd expect
Smuggles MacArthur | Snergonia | 01/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first wanted to see this film because of the piano aspect involved but when I saw it I got something so much more. The movie operates on various levels: there is an immediate level that viewers can watch and be entertained by, and there is a deeper level that satisfies the artistic side. The first positive that comes to mind is the beauty in what's NOT being said. By that, I mean, that the characters are fleshed out in a way that allows them to convey a message between the lines of what they're saying. There are other scenes that are extremely memorable as well that I don't want to ruin for anyone. Definately watch it and definately look below the surface."
Strange, but good movie.
Sher Engel | Hollywood, Florida United States | 05/05/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this movie on tv a year ago. It's hard to say what this movie's about. Mainly a (mentally handicapped?) overweight boy who plays piano, has an over proctective mother with diabetes, and some strange dream-like things happen."